14 Days of Sleep Deprivation Can Add 9% to Your Belly Fat

written by / April 12, 2022
14 Days of Sleep Deprivation Can Add 9% to Your Belly Fat

A recent study published in the American College of Cardiology Journal uncovered new worrying effects of sleep deprivation. Namely, according to the study, insufficient sleep could cause healthy non-obese individuals to accumulate fat around their waistline. 

Researchers examined 12 participants aged 19–39. They divided them into two groups — the one that was allowed nine hours of sleep and the one that got only four hours of sleep a day. 

All participants had access to food, and their energy expenditure stayed more or less the same. 

What the research team found was intriguing. 

The group that was allowed only four hours of sleep consumed around 300 kcal calories more per day than the control group, which was allowed nine hours of sleep per day. 

But though the weight gain of sleep-deprived participants was minimal (around 1 lb), their fat composition and distribution changed dramatically. 

Namely, they showed a 9% increase in total abdominal fat and a whopping 11% in unhealthy abdominal visceral fat (that accumulates deep inside the abdomen, envelops the organs, and is particularly hard to get rid of) — and all this in just two weeks of sleep deprivation.

Why is this finding so important? 

Previous scientific evidence proved that visceral fat is a great predictor of health problems like CVDs, type 2 diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s.

So, getting your beach body ready for the summer might have to involve more than you expected. Besides increasing exercise and watching your calories, it might also have to include

OTC sleep aids that would ensure you get enough sleep.

Marija Kovachevska is a content writer at, Biochemist and Activist. After obtaining her BSc in Biochemistry and Physiology she changed her microscope for content research tools and continued researching in the fields of Medicine, Biology, and Communication. Her insatiable curiosity flare drove her to become a “content scientist writer” as she likes to say. Reality fascinates her and facts and statistics are a must-have feature in her articles. Fluent in English and French, she is a volunteer and communication associate for several non-profit organizations. French culture and handcrafting are her passion, but in her free time, she indulges in long walks and traveling, or as she likes to say “experiencing the inexperienced.”